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Is T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund (PRASX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

If you've been stuck searching for Mutual Fund Equity Report funds, consider T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund (PRASX) as a possibility. PRASX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

History of Fund/Manager

PRASX is a part of the T. Rowe Price family of funds, a company based out of Baltimore, MD. T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund debuted in September of 1990. Since then, PRASX has accumulated assets of about $1.44 billion, according to the most recently available information. The fund's current manager, Anh Lu, has been in charge of the fund since June of 2014.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. PRASX has a 5-year annualized total return of 2.86% and it sits in the middle third among its category peers. If you're interested in shorter time frames, do not dismiss looking at the fund's 3-year annualized total return of 4.04%, which places it in the middle third during this time-frame.

When looking at a fund's performance, it is also important to note the standard deviation of the returns. The lower the standard deviation, the less volatility the fund experiences. PRASX's standard deviation over the past three years is 17.05% compared to the category average of 17.48%. The fund's standard deviation over the past 5 years is 16.54% compared to the category average of 15.91%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.62, so it is likely going to be less volatile than the market at large. Because alpha represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which is the S&P 500 in this case, one should pay attention to this metric as well. With a negative alpha of -4.12, managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

For investors, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is key, since costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing. Competition is heating up in this space, and a lower cost product will likely outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, all things being equal. In terms of fees, PRASX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.98% compared to the category average of 1.29%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, PRASX is actually cheaper than its peers.

This fund requires a minimum initial investment of $2,500, and each subsequent investment should be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, T. Rowe Price New Asia Fund ( PRASX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a great potential choice for investors right now.

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Mutual Fund Equity Report, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information. Zacks provides a full suite of tools to help you analyze your portfolio - both funds and stocks - in the most efficient way possible.


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